Instagram is a mobile-first social networking platform which allows users to upload, edit and share photos via an app. Currently, Instagram is a highly relevant and highly used platform, and it only continues to grow. As of April 2016, Instagram has over 400 Million active users (Statista, 2016).
As of September 2015, Instagram users have shared well over 30 Billion photos in total, and now share an average of 70 Million photos per day (Hootsuite). That is, since its release in 2010 Instagram has been used to share as many photos as over four times the world’s population. These numbers have already grown since these statistics were reported, and they aren’t expected to slow down anytime soon.
Instagram has certainly earned its spot in amongst the top social media platforms, and big brands have recognised its importance. As of June 2015, 85% of top brands are actively using Instagram. These statistics truly suggest that all businesses should be using Instagram as part of their social media marketing efforts.
Why should businesses be using Instagram?
As is evident across so many other social media platforms, one of the best ways to distribute content is by including a visual component. Instagram is exactly that, all within one simple app. It’s relatively easy to use, and can benefit all kinds of businesses with its marketing offerings. Instagram is impressively popular, and should be utilised by all brands trying to resonate with their targeted audience. Here are a few reasons why:
Popularity of Smart Phones
As mentioned above, Instagram is a mobile-first platform accessible via an app. This means a smartphone is necessary to access all of its features. Thankfully, smartphones are becoming more and more popular every day – meaning Instagram is available to more and more people every day. While Instagram does have a web version for browsing, it thrives from its full-featured app version. It’s safe to say that as the popularity of smartphones grows, Instagram will continue to grow in turn.
Level of Engagement
Statistics show that Instagram’s engagement rates are soaring above other social platforms. Despite having fewer users, a study conducted by Forrester showed that Instagram’s engagement with brands was at a rate of 4.21 percent (2014), significantly higher than the rates of Twitter and Facebook. Last year Forrester confirmed that Instagram remains the “king of social engagement”. To give this figure some context, Instagram’s per-follower engagement rate for top brands was 58 times higher than Facebook and 120 times higher than Twitter. Social media users want to see more visual content, so sharing images, videos, and infographics can help keep followers engaged. Engagement is a major aspect of social media for businesses, and Instagram proves the perfect platform to achieve it.
The Creative Aspect
Instagram is a predominantly visual app, allowing users to share photos and short videos to their profiles. Businesses can use this to their advantage through visual storytelling, developing a visual brand identity and creating engaging and highly shareable content. Instagram has basic in-app photo editing options, which can be used to create visual appeal and consistency. The app presents the perfect opportunity for users to get a feel for a business without having to dig too deep.
Be Found Online
Even if your business is not successful with any of the reasons above, simply having an active profile can optimize your ability to be found online. To be easily found on search engines, your business needs to have content distributed across a variety of online channels. It’s more necessary than ever to build up your brand reputation online. Having business profiles on Facebook and Twitter is important, but adding Instagram to that mix can do wonders for your overall online presence. Don’t forget, it’s another opportunity/platform to showcase your business, promote your sales, promotions and new offerings and drive traffic back to your website.
Instagram opened its advertising platform for all users in September of 2015. Since then, the mobile social media platform has become one of the top digital destinations for advertisers.
An online survey was conducted which polled digital marketers across eight countries revealed some impressive statistic regarding Instagram as an advertising channel. According to the study report published by Socialfresh, approximately 30% of study respondents were advertising on Instagram at least once a month. That is about the same amount as Twitter, and half as much as Facebook. Given that Instagram advertising has only been available to all businesses for less than a year, this is extremely significant.
Currently, Instagram ad campaigns are created and managed within Facebook’s Advert Manager platform. Like Facebook, the ads can be targeted to particular demographics and optimised to achieve various objectives. These objectives include things such as clicks to website, website conversions, mobile app installs and page engagement. Instagram ads can be single images, an image series presented as a carousel or videos up to one-minute long.
Compared to Facebook, Instagram advertising is just as affordable. Being able to create and manage them within Facebook makes it easy to manage both social platforms in one, and even allows you to distribute a duplicate campaign across both. Businesses expanding their paid advertising reach onto Instagram are in a great position to capture a larger audience. Being such a fast growing and easily available platform, businesses should definitely consider advertising on Instagram.
Coming Soon – Instagram Analytics:
Instagram is said to be preparing to launch a series of new tools for businesses and brands that use the platform. These new features include business profiles with ‘Contact’ and ‘Get Directions’ buttons, as well as in-app analytics and tracking.
One of the products early testers has released details of the new features on Later.com’s blog, allowing us to see what these new additions may look like (note that the testing took place before Instagram’s redesign).
Based on the released screenshots, Instagram’s analytics feature will be called “insights”. The analytics offering focus on two main areas: post analytics and follower demographics.
The follower demographics appear to reveal information including; location, age, and gender. The location information is broken down by country and city, offering useful information for both large companies and small local businesses. Location insight can be particularly helpful to businesses when determining when to post content. Additionally, businesses will be able to track how many new followers are gained on an hourly and daily basis. This can be helpful to determine which posts resulted in converting users to followers, and which posts may be spreading virally.
The post analytics section provides details regarding the performance of your Instagram content. Offering stats such as impressions, reach, website clicks and additional follower activity. Businesses will also have access to data regarding their followers most active times of the day, providing the best times to make posts.
The public launch of the new Instagram features for businesses are expected to roll out in the next few months. Users can expect to see Instagram move closer to Facebook in regards to usability for brands, businesses, and advertisers. And while Instagram is yet to confirm what percentage of its user base already has the new analytics tools, they did confirm that they exist. “We are testing new business tools coming to Instagram in a few months,” an Instagram spokesperson reportedly said.
Are you using Instagram for your business? Looking forward to gaining more insights? Share your experiences!